Part 3 - The Resurrection of the Body of Christ

By: Randall Mooney, Th.D.
Thursday, April 9, 2020

The End of Church as we know it? Part 3: The Resurrection of the Body of Christ

This week we mark the fifth Sunday since we began the exile from our church buildings. But this is not just any Sunday, it’s Easter Sunday. A day that is usually the most attended day of the year at church buildings worldwide, continues to be off limits to the faithful and hopeful because of fear of an unseen enemy. Politicians at every level, with doctors and medical experts in tow, all collaborate in the name of protecting us from their worse-case models, push aside our rights and welfare in the name of trying to save the world. While millions die daily for a multitude of reasons, our leaders have used their authority to cripple an economy that was once the lifeblood of the whole planet. From the largest to the smallest, untold thousands that never faced this enemy within their bodies, will never recover from the financial toll the alleged cure had on them. What have we learned so far? What do we have to celebrate?

It had only been a few days earlier when enraged, jealous, religious leaders, had an innocent man dragged from his prayer time in a garden through the dark streets to a judgement hall, their building. It only took a few hundred guards and soldiers with torches and swords to capture one man. A man that did not resist, a man guilty of healing the sick, feeding the poor and encouraging the broken hearted. A man that simply claimed to have a close relationship with the God these religious leaders claimed to worship. He had crossed the line as far as they were concerned and needed to be destroyed. Despite their own laws preventing them from having him killed for his crimes, they manipulated their enemy and captors into carrying out their desire for Jesus’ destruction. Their own scriptures, which they claimed to know better than any, left them blind and foolish to the outcome of their actions.

It wasn’t enough for them to murder this man. They had him publicly stripped and humiliated, battered and beaten beyond recognition, and forced him to carry his death sentence up the hill until he could no longer hold up under the weight and grabbed a bystander from the crowd to carry it for him. They drove nails into his feet and hands, leaving scars that would never be forgotten. They raised his body between heaven and earth for all to see. Only his Father, also hated by these zealots, refused to look at the sins of the world, that his only begotten son chose to carry to his death. Jesus would literally go to hell and back to deliver the sins of us all to a proper and lasting judgement. A sentence he didn’t earn but by the will of his Father owned.

He had told them privately of things to come, and also told them of his resurrection. Nevertheless, they went back to their homes feeling afraid and rejected because their friend, one they had hoped was the Messiah, was gone. Starting over after losing everything you’ve invested in is a horribly painful experience. They had invested their lives into this man’s vision of a new kingdom. Now he was gone. Some would go back to the life they had before, but others had nothing to return to. What now?

On the morning of his resurrection, Jesus’ return was met with the same skepticism of who he was, just like before his death. The women who first encountered the risen Lord, were treated as foolish and unbelievable by those that had also followed him when he was alive. They had not listened. They had not believed. What they failed to grasp more than anything was that Jesus had foretold them of his ability to raise up the temple of his body only three days after it was destroyed. From then to now, the buildings of his church are all too often mistaken as the temple of his body. It is not our building he longs to dwell in, it’s our bodies, the real temple of God.

And for me, this is the real goal for my writing. The body of Christ, the church at large, the bride of Christ, has abdicated her place in the kingdom of God, to the brick and mortar. Buildings, built by men, and even dedicated to God, fall short in appeal to God and man. And when we failed to draw the masses with our fancy architecture, we resorted to audio and video equipment, light and laser shows, and all the internet and multimedia we could develop. Don’t misinterpret my sarcasm. I have used every tool available during the course of my forty-five plus years in ministry, to spread the gospel. However, the power of God to change lives is found in the Holy Spirit and in the power of God’s Word, and not in the tools we use to make it available.

So here we sit, buildings large and small, equipment vast and simple, teams ready and willing, but currently unable to use the tools we have become accustomed to using. What do we do now? Might I suggest a resurrection. This Easter let’s celebrate the resurrection of the Body of Christ. Let’s celebrate a church that returns to her first love. Let’s celebrate a church that picks up her Bible and returns to the words that first changed her world. Let’s rejoice in a church that falls to its knees in humility and contrition before a Holy God. Let’s be a church that loves neighbors and friends and can’t wait for the opportunity to serve others as we serve ourselves. Let’s celebrate a church that loves the world and the lost and doesn’t consider the loss of a facility as a hindrance to fulfilling her commission to take the gospel to the utter ends of the earth. Let’s be a resurrected church, filled with the power and love of God, fearless at any challenge, because we know Christ is in us, the hope of glory.

So, as previously asked in Part 2, what is the church to do if the buildings continue to be off limits? Simple. Be the church. Feed thousands, heal the sick, preach the gospel message, and do all these things before we go to the buildings. Never forget, the church has never needed a building to fulfill its great commission to be the church and reach the world with the gospel message of Jesus. It is simple by design and everything we do to complicate it continues to prove unreliable.


Popular Posts